Social networks, self-denial, and median preferences: Conformity as an evolutionary strategy

Jonathan Klick, Francesco Parisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attitudes of conformity can be understood as a product of adaptation. Existing models of conformity invoke preference falsification with individuals hiding their true preferences. We posit an adaptive mechanism for conformity. Because non-conformity leads to costs as a dissenting individual is shut out of social networks and majority coalitions, individuals have an incentive to sublimate their original preferences to a meta-preference for conformity. However, this adaptation is not costless. Resisting original preferences imposes self-denial costs that may exceed the benefits of conforming. Further, a conforming individual foregoes the small probability that his first-best original preferences will be realized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1319-1327
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Keywords

  • Conformism
  • Endogenous preferences
  • Preference falsification
  • Social networks

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